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How to Find Formaggi

How to Find Formaggi

At Eataly, we gals and beards behind the Salumi & Formaggi counter can do at least two things really well: cut the cheese and help you find what you need when you find yourself lost in a sea of over 300 formaggi

By far, the number one statement at the Eataly cheese counter is, “This is so overwhelming!” It needn’t be. Mongers are happy to sample out any cheese upon request. If you don’t know much about cheese — or even what you like about cheese — just keep it simple. Nobody is judging.

So, to make the experience easier, we have created a guide to finding a cheese that works for you and your occasion, especially if you haven’t brushed up on proteolysis (yanking apart proteins in the cheese = change in pH = ripened flavor) or geotrichum affinage (yeast manipulated in aging to put that brain-like wrinkle in a rind).

Take a breath, then make four quick decisions:

1. START WITH BASICS: TEXTURE.

Do you want a soft cheese, a hard cheese, or somewhere in the middle?

2. MILK MATTERS.

Do you want buffalo, cow, goat, or sheep? A mix?! Each has its own profile.

3. WHAT STRENGTH OF FLAVOR ARE YOU FEELING?

Big, zingy cheese or quiet, mellow cheese? Up to you.

4. THINK REGIONAL.

We’ve made this easy. Italian original or American artisanal? (For the advanced: What region of Italy? Toscana? Piemonte? Sicily? Eh?)

5. ENJOY!

See? You’ve already eliminated well over 50% of the cheese monster. Nothing to be scared of. No technical or nomenclature knowledge is required, only what you feel and taste —  and a willingness to taste the unknown. The mongers will take care of the rest.

6. CREATE THE RIGHT PAIRINGS (BONUS!).

Once you have your cheese, it's time to build an antipasto platter! From fruit jams to balsamic vinegar, the pairings matter. Check out our guide to making the ultimate board!

Piazza Eataly Cheese

Written by Mike Sack, Cheesemonger
Mike works as a cheese and salumi specialist at Eataly Chicago.  Like many of our dedicated staff, Mike enjoys spending his time visiting with and sharing the stories of the artisans who create the unique products offered at Eataly Chicago.

To dive deeper into the world of cheese, visit our cheesemongers at your local Eataly!

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